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Author image by Noeleen O'Hara

On 11th and 12th June 2024, the VIADUCT project partners and stakeholders gathered in Tampere, Finland, for the third Interregional Project Meeting and Site Visit.

VIADUCT, an Interreg Europe project (2023-2027), aims to promote spin-offs through smart specialisation strategies and addresses barriers to spin-off creation and consolidation via Policy Instrument improvements. The project, led by the University of Zaragoza (Spain), involves seven partners: Municipality of Pieve di Soligo (Italy), Western Romania Development Agency in Timisoara (Romania), SATT CONECTUS in Strasbourg (France), Science and Technology Park of Kaunas (Lithuania), Western Regions Development Commission of Ireland, Tampere Region Council (Finland), and ASTP (the Netherlands).

Good Practices and Regional Challenges

Hosted by the Council of Tampere Region, the meeting took place in several historical venues across Tampere. Shaped by post-industrial red-brick buildings, the city, founded in 1779 on the banks of the Tammerkoski rapids, has grown its reputation as a hub of technology and innovation. Tampere was also voted one of the world’s happiest cities in the Happy City Index 2023.

On the first day of the meeting, participants gathered at the historic Frenckell’s boiler room, now home to G LiveLab, an award-winning music venue whose inspiration is to innovate the music industry by supporting the development of local artists with ground-breaking programming and modern audio facilities.

The opening session was kicked off by Jari Kolehmainen, Director of Strategy at the Council of Tampere Region, and Cristina Ruiz García, Project Manager in the Research Results Transfer Office at the University of Zaragoza, and VIADUCT Project Lead. This was followed by presentations of good practices: successful initiatives aimed at enhancing business development and management skills among researchers. From SPARK Finland, which promotes solutions in health tech and life sciences, to training programmes like “Deeptech Entrepreneurship” and the “Team-to-Market” initiative in France, each participant highlighted projects aimed at supporting VIADUCT’s goals and objectives.

On the second day, the project’s partners addressed regional challenges in creating research-based spin-offs. Representatives from Ireland, Spain, and Romania shared their efforts and struggles in strengthening entrepreneurial culture, facilitating public research results, and overcoming digital isolation, sparking constructive discussions and solutions amongst the participants.

Site Visits: Learning and Innovation

The first Study Visit took place at Platform6, located at the heart of Tampere and known as the home of Tampere Start-ups. Since its foundation in October 2020, Platform6 has supported nearly 80 early-stage companies, providing a collaborative atmosphere and essential resources for entrepreneurial success. By providing a safe space for innovation and development, Platform6 contributes significantly to the vibrant start-up ecosystem of Tampere, boosting the city’s reputation as a hub for entrepreneurial growth and innovation.

The following day, partners and stakeholders visited the Tampere University Campus, where the initiatives 'Kampusklubi' and the 'Doctoral School of Industry Innovations (DSII)' were introduced. These projects, in collaboration with Tampere University, aim to bridge academia and industry to drive innovation and foster collaboration. Later, participants explored research-to-business cases presented by MoniCardi, the Centre for Immersive Visual Technologies (CIVIT), and Crispy, showcasing the practical application of academic research. The visit concluded with a tour of the CIVIT Lab, where guests were allowed to directly engage with their cutting-edge technologies.

These study visits not only showcased avant-garde projects, highlighting the importance of supporting innovators in their research and development, but also served as inspiring examples for future initiatives.

In conclusion, the third Interregional Meeting and Study Visit, framed by the breathtaking Finnish mise-en-scène, provided fruitful discussions, networking opportunities, and valuable insights into Tampere’s research and entrepreneurial scene.

A special thanks to all partners and stakeholders for their enthusiastic participation, and to the Council of Tampere Region for their warm hospitality and excellent hosting.

Learn more about VIADUCT here.

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